VATICAN CITY, APRIL 20, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI outlined a proposal for the unity of the Catholic Church based on “collegial communion” between the pope and the bishops.
In the first message of his pontificate, the new Pope surmounts the debate that has been taking place in some Catholic circles between those calling for “collegiality” — that is, a greater voice for the bishops of various dioceses — and those who emphasize the role of the Pope as pastor of the universal Church.
In his message, read in Latin in the Sistine Chapel today at the end of his first Mass concelebrated as Pope with the cardinals, Benedict XVI asked all bishops worldwide “to be by my side with prayer and counsel, so that I can truly be ‘Servus servorum Dei'” — the Servant of the servants of God, one of the descriptions proper to Roman pontiffs.
“As Peter and the other apostles constituted, by the will of the Lord, a unique Apostolic College, in the same way the Successor of Peter and the bishops, successors of the apostles, must be very closely united among themselves, as the Council confirmed forcefully,” explained the new Pope.
“This collegial communion, though in the diversity of roles and functions of the Roman Pontiff and of the bishops, is at the service of the Church and of unity in the faith, from which depends in notable measure the efficacy of the evangelizing action in the contemporary world,” the German-born Pontiff added.
“I wish to continue on this path on which my venerated Predecessors advanced, concerned only to proclaim to the whole world the living presence of Christ,” he affirmed.